The 18th Day is the debut album by hip hop singer Estelle. The first edition was released on 18 October 2004 and the second edition on 4 April 2005.
Although voted best newcomer at the 2004 MOBO awards, for some, Estelle's debut, The 18th Day, has been a long time coming. One of the most respected female rappers in the UK, Estelle's style effortlessly eschews the trappings of sounding like her US counterparts and gives her a really natural, British, flow.
The album is almost split into two distinct styles: one half funky, UK R&B hip-hop whereas the other more downbeat and soulful. Opening track "1980" sums up the early part—the backing a wall of sound and the catchy vocals reminiscing about growing up. "Dance Bitch" is slightly more US sounding where one can hear echoes of Missy Elliott; "Go Gone" is fun and poppy, sounding like an update on the classic Northern Soul sound; and "Free" is a bouncy funk number and also second single.
For the ballad "I Wanna Love You", Estelle slips more into singing mode and her confidence grows with each subsequent song. "Crazy" shows off the range and dexterity of her voice, it may not be that of a world-class soul diva but it's strong and the phrasing is fantastic.
One big highlight is, "I'm Gonna Win"—dramatic, rousing and an uplifting moment on a really enjoyable album. On The 18th Day there is very little filler and whilst the heavy ballad section can be a little bit too much, it never falls into bland mediocrity.